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Women’s hockey wins first ECACHL games
Playing in its first ECACHL home game Friday night, the Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team wasn’t just looking for its first ECACHL win. It was also looking for the first conference win in program history.
Backstopped by a 28-save performance from freshman goaltender Connie Craig, the Bobcats (1-2-1 in ECACHL, 3-5-2 overall) shutout Union College, 1-0, at the Northford Ice Pavilion. Quinnipiac is 7-0-1 all-time against Union (0-3, 2-5).
Freshman Nicolette Leone broke the scoreless tie with her first college goal 49 seconds into the third period. She scored on a slap shot from the top of the left circle for the power play goal.
“Getting that first goal was huge,” Quinnipiac head coach Michael Barrett said. “There’s a real psychological aspect to momentum. We had it in the first (period), they had it in the second. If the other team gets that first goal, then you start pressing.”
In its fifth year competing at the Division I level, the women’s ice hockey team had never won a conference game prior to Friday. The Bobcats went 0-21 in the ECAC Eastern division in 2001-02 before playing as an independent team in the following two seasons. Last year, Quinnipiac posted a 0-12 record in the CHA.
Quinnipiac dominated the first period, putting nine shots on the board before the Dutchwomen registered their first shot with six minutes left. But Union goalie Alex Zirbel stopped all 12 shots she faced, including a flashy kick save on sophomore Karrah Stephen’s shot from the right point at the nine-minute mark.
The Bobcats were whistled for five consecutive penalties in a nine-minute span of the second period and Union grabbed the momentum from Quinnipiac, outshooting the home team, 15-9.
“It’s good that you can kill penalties, but you can’t generate offense spending ten minutes in the penalty box,” Barrett said.
Craig kept the Bobcats’ lead intact with ten saves in the third period, including a stop on Ashley Kilstein’s breakaway backhand bid with 12:30 left. Craig’s shutout, the first of her college career, was also Quinnipiac’s first since the Bobcats blanked Sacred Heart, 3-0, in the final game of the 2003-04 season.
“It was all about the goalies,” Leone said. “Our goalie kept us in the game, their goalie kept them in the game.”
Quinnipiac 6, Union 2:
Junior forward Vicky Graham tallied three goals and one assist to lead the Bobcats (4-5-2, 2-2-1) to a 6-2 win over Union on Saturday at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
Union took a 2-1 lead early in the second period, but freshman forward Antoinette Maldonado scored 27 seconds later for the Bobcats. Freshman Trudy Reyns scored the game-winning goal at 7:12 of the second, setting the stage for Graham’s three goals to cap the scoring.
Craig stopped 22 shots in goal for the Bobcats.